I put the drive into a usb-to-ide external enclosure and tried to access it from another computer, but windows says that the device has malfunctioned and the data cannot be accessed. So, I put it back into the original laptop, and went into the emergency console from the XP boot disk.
I then tried to fix the MBR, thinking that might have something to do with it, because the drive wouldn't boot into XP when placed back in the original laptop. I typed in "fixboot c:" which completed successfully, then typed in "fixmbr" which completed successfully, but when I put "bootcfg /rebuild" it gives an error and won't perform that step. If I look up the directories in the emergency console, it shows modified dates and folder sizes, but instead of the usual "Documents and Settings" and "Program Files", etc, each folder has a jumble of weird symbols like a heart, some letters, an "i" but instead of a dot, it's an apostrophe, among numerous others.
Has all data been lost? Something is obviously still there, but this is beyond me.